‘The Best We Could’: Splendour Organisers Break Their Silence After Wet ‘N Wild Festival Weekend

Festival goers at Splendour In The Grass 2022 in Byron Bay trudging through mud

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know by now that this year’s Splendour In The Grass was chaos. From punters (and cars) getting bogged down in normal mud to reports of noxious mud, it was a mud lover’s dream — but for everyone else, the weekend left a lot to be desired. And it’s time to hear what the festival has to say about the soggy, sloppy situation.

Per the ABC, Splendour In The Grass co-founder Jess Ducrou told Hack the organisers “did the best we could” amid the chaos.

“We were in a really difficult position,” she said.

“We have insurance, we could have cancelled the entire event. So it wasn’t a financial decision for us to go forward.

“It was more about considering how long it had been since Splendour had happened. The fact that so many people had come into the area for it. And the fact so many people were relying on it and working for it.”

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A difficult position, indeed. The festival grounds had already flooded on day one due to torrential downpour, which meant some folks were cut off from entering the festival’s main campsite at North Byron Parklands.

And for attendees who did make it to their campsites, they only got there after queuing for yonks — in some instances, for 15 hours.

Organisers ended up canning day one of the festival, however, punters were only told about the cancellation late in the piece. According to 9 News, Splendour sent attendees notifications at about 11am which said “the show will go on rain, hail or shine”.

Ducrou admitted it “perhaps was not the right message” but defended the move to pull the pin.

“We had new information from the SES and the weather bureau that there was a low that developed up near Brisbane and was headed down toward North Byron Parklands,” she said.

“Our first priority was to keep people safe. It was the right thing to do.”

As for the pesky transport situation on day two — which saw some TikTokers report they were still waiting until 4am for a bus home — Ducrou said organisers only learnt what was happening “after the fact” and some buses literally just didn’t rock up.

“I think some of the drivers got sick,” she said.

“It’s something we’ll have to take up with the bus company.”

The drama was definitely a bloody shame, given the fact it was the first time Splendour could even run since COVID-19 reared its ugly head in 2020. To mark the festival’s return, the event’s capacity was increased from 35,000 to 50,000 attendees.

According to Ducrau, the festival sold an extra 7,500 tickets on top of the 35,000 capacity. Although it sounds like a hell of a lot more people, she said it didn’t contribute to the problems the festival endured.

“You can plan, and we definitely overbooked on everything because we were expecting some impacts. But you just can’t get everything right,” Ms Ducrou said.

“And I think the weather certainly affected the ability to just roll through it.

“We did the best we could.”

@bigthiccieee Splendour dads forgot a bolt #splendourinthegrass #seekingrefuge ♬ My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme from “Titanic”) – Céline Dion

It’s a tough one. While it’s commendable that Splendour has publicly spoken about the chaotic weekend rather than shying away from criticism, you still can’t blame attendees for being annoyed about everything that went on. That choccie ganache mud? Koko Black has been found shaking.

However, it’s definitely worth noting that Splendour couldn’t control the weather! So you’ve got to blame Mother Nature for that one.

Splendour goers will be refunded for day one, as will punters who pre-booked buses from the festival site on both days one and two.

And for people who aren’t too traumatised from either hearing about or experiencing this year’s festival, guess what? Splendour will “definitely be back next year”, Ducrou said.

I reckon get your gumboots ready just in case.